A 17 minute short, described by its creators Tom Hancock and Varun Raman as a Lynchian Brexit themed film. TRANSMISSION is set in a dystopian version of the UK, now renamed Britania. It merges the fears of the growing Nationalist movement with the styling of BRAZIL and 1984 with a bit of THE PRISONER and THE INFINITY CHAMBER added in.
The plot follows Dr. Sam (James Hyland) as he manipulates and interrogates Leonard (Michael Shon). Leonard endures the torment with thoughts of the outside world, and of Joan (Kelby Keenan RIPPER) whom he knew before he was taken captive.
Shot on 35mm film and with an original score, a rarity for shorts these days, TRANSMISSION looks stunning. That look is matched by the performances from the two leads. Hyland is chilling as the inquisitor, oily and manipulative but not above using violence to get what he wants. And what he wantsis Leonard’s signature on a confession.
The specter of a totalitarian Britain isn’t a new one of course, although the nationalist angle echoes films such as IT HAPPENED HERE and its vision of an England successfully invaded by the Nazis. It’s both sad and frightening to see the lessons that we learned about just what unrestrained nationalism is capable of being ignored less than a hundred years after Hitler and less than twenty-five years after Bosnia. That is why we need films like TRANSMISSION to help remind people.
I should point out that despite having an agenda, TRANSMISSION isn’t preachy. It’s a well shot and edited battle of wits between two well portrayed adversaries. The fact it has something to say is an added layer.
TRANSMISSION made its debut at the 2017 Fantasia Festival where it was nominated for Best International Short. It’s since racked up several awards and nominations and deservedly so. Now it’s available to watch free on Vimeo. Do it, it’s worth the time.